Layton Williams plays Paul in Kiss Me Kate, playing at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre this Christmas.
Layton’s theatre work includes Hairspray, Rent, The Car Man, Lord of the Flies (UK tours), Thriller (Lyric Theatre) and the title role in Billy Elliot. For television, his work includes Bad Education, Postcode, Beautiful Peopleand Benidorm; and for film, Bad Education.
We caught up with him during rehearsals for the show to find out more about the show and also the discuss the big news that he will be joining the cast of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie next year!
Kiss Me Kate is a Broadway classic, first opening in 1948, but what’s it about?
Kiss Me, Kate is a musical comedy with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. It’s basically a show within a show… Plus, a whole load of hysterical drama thrown in to stir things up a bit. Most of the characters are putting on a production of a Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. You follow Fred and Lillie on and off stage as they struggle to continue the show amongst the mess, gangsters, lovers, and the Too Darn Hot Paul, of course!
Kiss Me Kate is packed with lots of jazzy songs. Which one are you most excited to perform and why?
I only really sing in Another Opening, Another Show & Too Darn Hot. They’re such iconic musical theatre numbers so it’s such a pleasure. Too Darn Hot literally goes on for, like, 11(ish) minutes. It has multiple verses and the dance break is loooooong. I get to front that number and Matt Flint [choreographer] has given us some major choreography. It sits so comfortably in my body so as you can imagine, I’m living!
Can you describe your character Paul in three words.
Too. Darn. Hot.
You first appeared on the scene when you played the title role in Billy Elliot the Musical in 2007, what has been a highlight of your career since?
I’d have to say playing Angel in RENT was a real highlight. It was my first musical theatre lead as an adult. It really helped with my confidence in a huge way. Slaying eight shows a week all in a heel was not easy but it was the most rewarding job ever. I got to go on such a journey with that character and I’ll be forever grateful for that.
We have to mention the big news that you will be joining the cast of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie next year. What is it about that show that you are most excited to explore?
OMG there’s much I’m excited to explore. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into Jamie as he’s such a complex character. Yes, he is super fabulous but behind all of that there’s a lot of vulnerability in this 16 year old boy. He’s going on a journey, trying to figure things out. So many people can relate to Jamie in different ways. As an actor I just couldn’t be more ready to get stuck into this. As we mentioned earlier, Billy Elliot was the show that welcomed me into this industry. I’ve not been a leading man/boy since. Now 10 years have gone by, I’m beyond excited to be welcomed back to the West End as the new Jamie! London… It’s Gonna. Go. OFF! Come join the party!
Where do you find your inspiration to be a performer?
I’m inspired daily by the talented people I work with and my amazing friends I surround myself with. It’s not hard to be inspired when you’re playing opposite such fabulous actors. It keeps you striving to be your best.
If you had to dance to one song and only one song every day for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
Spice Up Your Life!
What other show would you love to see make a comeback to the UK?
I’d love the Moulin Rouge to come to the West End! I adore the movie and think it’s going to be perfect for the stage.
What makes this production of Kiss Me Kate at The Crucible Theatre so special and why should people come to Sheffield to see it?
First off let me just say what a privilege it is to work at the Crucible. I love the place, I love the people. Everyone is so welcoming; it’s like a family here. The entire Crucible staff has made us all feel at home.
This is also my first time working with director Paul Foster. He is an absolute dream. His attention to detail and passion for the production is inspiring. Everything is a moment and everyone has a purpose. The ensemble is on fire and the casting is lit. We’re making this show for a 2018/19 audience so you should see some scenes played differently to how they have been before. Matt Flint is also making some magic on stage with his full out choreography. There’re some real show stoppers, one lead by me actually… So if that’s not enough to convince you to come, I don’t know what is, ha!
Thanks for having Tea With Wilma
Questions by Jessica Battison
Kiss Me, Kate is at the Crucible Theatre until Saturday 12 January. Tickets are available here
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